What's More Effective Than 10,000 Blades?
- Jamin Kauf
Spoiler season is the most exciting time in Magic - especially with a set like Modern Horizons where cards don’t have to fit Standard’s power level. Cards designed for Modern can answer specific problems in the format or enable never seen archetypes to flourish. Our **EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW** is a brand-new card that calls back all the way to Legacy.
Modern is a format defined by extremes. Decks are often extremely polarized by the massive pool of cards and do one thing very well and efficiently. This means answers often have to be very specific and we only get a card like Damping Sphere in Standard every now and then. It’s important to have an array of answers to prevent Modern from being run over by a new deck simply because there were no answers to it.
Our exclusive preview is a beautifully designed card that can fight the current top decks in Modern, while also being a safety net. It can stop other strategies from taking over – while also fit into proactive decks.
The day is finally here and today we finally get to reveal Cardmarket’s exclusive preview card! We don’t want to waste your time, so without further ado...
Do We Actually Need This Card in Modern?
Wow, what a card! This is so much better than Engineered Plague, a card which has even seen play in Legacy. But I’m getting ahead of myself. What are the card's uses in Modern?
Let’s take a look at the decks that our new 2/2 creature might put to work against, starting with the most obvious one:
Probably currently the best tribal deck in Modern, I have played this deck a ton and can promise that a permanent -1/-1 debuff is nothing pleasant to deal with. If Plague Engineer comes out on turn 3, it can often kill off Noble Hierarchs before you even have the chance to Aether Vial in a Reflector Mage. And that brings us to our biggest problem: Reflector Mage. This bad boy gets rid of the debuff for two whole turns most of the time and there’s little you can do against it.
Overall, you will obviously make your Humans match-up quite a bit better by including this new card. But don’t rely on it to do all the work on it’s own against a deck that can go over the top with lots of Thalia’s Lieutenants.
A deck that has declined in popularity as soon as KCI was banned, Spirits still has percentages of the metagame. Unfortunately, against all these fliers, granting -1/-1 does very little since all their lords have high toughness on their own and will negate the debuff quickly. Still, if you pair Plague Engineer with a removal to pick off the lords, you'll still have a solid gameplan, since most of the non-lords like Rattlechains or Selfless Spirit are X/1 creatures.
The recently discovered, much discussed, new version of Affinity is seriously impacted by our new little fellow. Not only can you name "Construct" to weaken all of your opponent's creatures (except Arcbound Ravager), but you you can also name "Thopter" to get rid of the pesky 1/1s that are left behind by Hangarback Walker. Hardened Scales decks need to prepare themselves for the coming of Plague Engineer.
Devoted Druid Company
Here are two very strong creatures that share the Human type. Vizier of Remedies and Noble Hierarch are both four-offs that die to our new 2/2, which now prevents your opponent from combo-ing you anytime soon. By now, it almost feels like a mantra, but this will not win you the game on its own. Company decks can still do other things than combo and while shutting of the combo (and hindering their mana development) is a really good starting point, that’s not good enough alone. Don't lay all the responsibilites on Plague Engineer.
Infect decks regularly only have three threats: Inkmoth Nexus, Glistener Elf, and Blighted Agent, where the creature land is often the hardest to remove. Well, with Plague Engineer, you effectively shut off the Nexus by naming “Blinkmoth” as the creature type. And if the situation calls for it, you can also kill the Elves or Agents. Infect is obviously not a tribal deck, but it’s one of the decks that are gonna have a tough time against our new card.
Other decks I want to mention include:
- Elves, which are not currently big in Modern, but might make a comeback when there’s less Arclight Phoenix.
- Young Pyromancer Mardu, which Plague Engineer will not be great against, since this deck can easily remove the 2/2.
- Dredge, wherein we can turn off Bloodghasts, which can be addressed in better ways against the graveyard-centric deck.
The Deck That Would Want to Maindeck the Engineer
The fact that Plague Engineer is a creature makes it so much better than Engineered Plague and this, for me, deems it a worthy inclusion in the Abzan Collected Company archetype. Even in a matchup like B/G where there’s no real creature type to name, a 2/2 deathtouch will still trade for a Tarmogoyf.
Being able to name any creature type is a very flexible ability and provides solutions to such a variety of problems (many of which I named earlier) that I’d expect the archetype to play one or two. Hitting a permanent -1/-1 in the right match-up off of Collected Company can be an incredible blowout and can swing games that you once had no hope of winning.
What’s More Powerful Than a Single Germ?
Plague Engineer is a beautifully designed card that does not win games on its own, yet can have a very powerful effect on a game of Magic if used correctly. It’s also a pre-made answer to potential problems Modern might face in the future, preventing certain deck types from becoming too strong. As such, this card fits perfectly into Modern Horizons at rare and is a welcome addition to the Modern deckbuilding pool.
Check out our Modern Horizons page if you're interested in more MH1 cards!